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Register a Charity

If your organisation won't generate profits, and is dedicated to raising money or awareness for a cause, then you might want to form a Charity. Get started here by searching for your desired Charity name.

Forming a Charity

To start a Charity, you begin by forming a Limited Company, which then needs to be registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales, or the Office of the Scottish Charity Register (OSCR) in Scotland.

Duport's Charity formation service enables you to set up your company in preparation for registration with the appropriate charity regulator, as well as providing you with all the advice and support you need, including providing Objects and Aims for the organisation.

Read our What Company? guide for more information about forming a charity, or get started now by searching for your charity name.

What do you get?

When you form your charity through Duport, you will receive all the essential documents for running and managing your company structure, as well as expert advice and support from our experienced team.

  • Company Number
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (the documents that define how your company legally works)
  • Incorporation certificate
  • Phone and email support from our dedicated team

What you need to know

Here's what you need to know about forming your charity with Duport, from costs and setup time to legal requirements and registration with the Charity Commission.

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including government fees and delivery

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Process time

Companies House typically take 6-8 working hours to register your charity

Important Notes

As a charity, you will need approval from the Charity Commission if you wish to register a charity in England or Wales. Scottish charities should register with the Office of the Scottish Charity Register (OSCR). They recommend that you register the company before formally applying for charitable status, and we advise you visit the Charity Commission website, or the OSCR website as you are formulating your ideas. Both regulators aim to help charities perform effectively, and monitor their compliance.

Please note when you become a trustee of a charity, you volunteer your services and usually receive no payment for your work.

Any income from your charity must be put towards its aims, and cannot be retained by trustees. You must also have a plan for what will be done with any excess earnings.

If you wish to use the word "charity" as part of your company name, Companies House may require prior, written approval from the Charity Commission or the OSCR.

To form your charity, you must:

  • Provide the objects (aims) of your organisation (Duport's expert team can help with this)
  • State what will be done with any excess earnings
  • Have a minimum of 3 trustees (directors)
  • Have a registered office in the UK (you can use the Duport service if you prefer)
  • If you opt to upgrade and use our address services these will be renewable annually for £59.99. It is not compulsory to renew.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to find out more about forming your company with Duport? Have a look through our frequently asked questions to find out more about how to form your company.

Directors are the people who have responsibility for the legal operation of the company. If a company defaults on its legal obligations it is the directors who are held responsible on the company's behalf. This means that it is every director's personal responsibility to ensure that all necessary documents are delivered to Companies House as required under the Company's Act.

Directors also determine company policy and who must sign for any changes to the company's constitution. In a private limited company, Directors can decide who may own shares in the company.

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Most people require a standard limited company which is suitable for nearly all types of trading. However, if you are a not for profit, a sole trader or a charity, then we can offer you a different service.

Limited Companies

your company name will be registered and protected at Companies House. The company will be recognised as an independent (of you) body in which people can own a percentage (hold shares) and be employed by. You are protected from the liabilities of the company as it is independent of you.

Sole Traders

Sole trading is popular with people who are the business and want total control and unlimited responsibility for their own business and its debts.

Because you don't have shareholders or other company directors, do not have to keep Companies House informed of your company details. However, you are still liable for taxation, so you must complete self-assessment tax return annually and register with HM Revenue & Customs within 3 months of starting your business.

Because you are not a limited company, you are personally liable for all your company's debts. Remember, should your company become insolvent your personal assets (such as your house) will NOT be protected.

Your company name is also not secured at Companies House. This means that another individual may register the trading name you are using.

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When you've decided that you want to form a company through Duport, we will take you through the formation process to make sure everything is organised properly.

step one

You need to decide which type of company you want before you begin your formation. A standard LTD company is the most popular choice for our customers, suitable for almost all types of trading. If you are unclear, it is worth seeking the advice of a good accountant.

step two

You need to pick a name for your new company! Use our company name check tool to make sure your company name is available, and read through our sensitive names and choose a company name guides for more information.

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Some words are not allowed in company names and some words may only be used subject to special criteria or permission. Companies House regulates the use of all sensitive words and your company will not be registered if the criteria are not met. For example, you can't use the word "charity" without the permission of the Charity Commission.

The following is a list of the most common types of sensitive words. You may want to check through for any name you were considering. This information is taken directly from Companies House. Duport also maintains a constantly updated internal database of 'sensitive words' and the changing criteria that must be met to allow use of these words. If you need help on this matter, call our team on (0117) 330 8910. Please note that we are unable to check company names against all trademark registrations.

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If your company turnover exceeds the VAT registration threshold, you must register. However, you are allowed to make an optional application for VAT registration before you reach that level in order to claim back the VAT paid on your purchases.

We suggest that you visit your local office of HM Revenue & Customs and obtain their booklets and forms. Alternatively, you can visit their website at

If you are not resident in the UK but wish to have a UK registration for VAT you will need to appoint a 'tax agent' to deal with HMRC on your behalf. It is normal to appoint a qualified accountant for this purpose. If you do not have a UK based accountant, Duport will be able to put you in touch with a suitably qualified firm.

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Company secretaries are responsible to the directors and are usually responsible for filling in the paperwork associated with confirmation statements.

There is no longer a legal requirement to appoint a company secretary, however companies with only one director will often require a second signature on legal documentation (for example when you open a bank account). If you do not appoint a company secretary this documentation will need to be signed by an appointed witness and many companies are still opting to appoint a company secretary.

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Need some help?

If you need some help with your order, or can't find the answer to your question in our FAQs, you can always give us a call or drop us an email.